The 2023 season of the 44Cup has been unveiled, with five events scheduled for what will be the 16th season of racing between the high performance owner-driver one design monohulls.
The fleet size will kick off with nine entries for the first event and over the course of the season is expected to grow to more than ten with two new RC44s currently in build at Pauger Carbon Composites in Hungary. This follows the launch last season of another brand new RC44 for Christian Zuerrer’s Black Star Sailing Team from Switzerland.
New to the circuit for 2023 will be the 44 Cup Alcaidesa Marina in Spain. This will be held out of Puerto Alcaidesa Marina in La Línea de la Concepción, right next to the border with Gibraltar where it will be hosted by John Bassadone’s Peninsula Racing team. If the events Bassadone has generously supported in the past out of nearby Sotogrande had Gibraltar in the background, this time the famous 426m tall Rock, that marks the entrance to the Mediterranean, will be towering over the fleet as it races on the neighbouring Bay of Gibraltar.
“I am honoured to welcome the 44 Cup to our home waters – the Bay of Gibraltar,” says Bassadone. “Having grown up here, I am proud to be able to showcase everything we have to offer from the hospitality to the sailing experience. The Gibraltarian and Andalucian way of life is uniquely ours. It knows no bounds and there are so many exciting things to experience. From prehistoric caves to world famous golf courses and everything in-between, you will be left wanting for nothing.
“I am certain this leg of the Championship will produce some very exciting races and nail biting sailing. The backdrop of the Rock of Gibraltar and the Atlas Mountains in North Africa are known as the Pillars of Hercules and what a fitting setting for the 44 Cup Championship.”
The 2023 season kicks off where it concluded in 2022, in Muscat, Oman. Here the 44Cup Oman will be held out of the Al Mouj Marina on the outskirts of the Omani capital Muscat over 1-5 March. The event is hosted by Oman Sail, the well-known organisation set up in 2008 with the blessing of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said to rekindle Oman’s maritime heritage, promote the Sultanate of Oman around the world through sailing and provide long-term learning opportunities for Omani youth. Hence Oman Sail will also field a team in the event.
The 44Cup is no stranger to the Arabian Peninsula, having concluded its 2008 and 2009 seasons in Dubai; nor to Oman, which it visited previously in 2013 and 2014.
After Oman, the 2023 44Cup will then return to Europe and its most regularly visited venue, the paradise island of Marstrand on Sweden’s west coast. Over 28 June until 2 July, the fleet is being hosted in the 44Cup’s Scandinavian stopover once again by long term 44Cup competitor Torbjörn Törnqvist and his Artemis Racing team. Racing will, as usual, take place to the west of the island and at the end of at least one day, the RC44 teams will get to finish a race inside Marstrand Fjord, off one of the picturesque seaside village’s ancient forts.
For just the second time ever, the 44Cup will visit Cowes. Taking place over 9-13 August, this will be a busy period for the British venue with the 50th anniversary edition of the Rolex Fastnet Race setting off from there two weeks beforehand and with Cowes Week taking place immediately prior to the 44Cup Cowes. One of yacht racing’s most famous venues, the Solent and the Isle of Wight are also among the most historic too with Cowes Week having been held for the first time officially in 1826, the first round of what would become the America’s Cup lapping the Isle of Wight in 1851 while the first Fastnet Race started from there in 1925.
Hosted by Chris Bake’s Team Aqua and the Royal Yacht Squadron, the event will also double as the 2023 RC44 World Championship.
The 44Cup then moves to Spain for its final two events, the first in Puerto Alcaidesa Marina, while the 44Cup will again conclude its season with the support of the Calero family and their marina group over 22-26 November. As ever the Canary Islands provide a welcome end of year venue for the 44Cup combining warm temperatures compared to the rest of Europe at the end of November and the welcome possibility of strong northeasterly trade winds blowing.
As ever, events will include post race drinks and food close to the dock where owners and crew can mingle to swap war stories and there will also be a return to holding owner and crew dinners in the evening.
44Cup class manager Bertrand Favre adds: “It’s great to see the size of the fleet increasing year-on-year and new venues coming online for the class. The quality of the competition is outstanding, the racing is physical and exciting, the boat is affordable and what really makes a good 44Cup event is a friendship and camaraderie ashore amongst the teams. We are looking forward to another good season.”
2023 44CUP EVENTS:
1 – 5 March – 44Cup Oman, Muscat
28 June – 2 July – 44Cup Marstrand, Sweden
9 – 13 August – 44Cup Cowes, UK
18 – 22 October – 44Cup Alcaidesa Marina, Gibraltar Straight
22 – 26 November – 44Cup Calero Marinas, Canary Islands